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TCHTA President’s Vision: Turks & Caicos as a Premier Service Destination

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#TurksandCaicos, September 9, 2021 – When hearing the name Turks and Caicos, our waters, our weather, and immaculate powdery white beaches immediately come to mind.

Allow me to take you on a journey from the “Beautiful by Nature” Turks and Caicos Islands of today, to a destination known not only for its pristine beauty but one rooted in providing an exceptional service experience to visitors and residents alike. To envision Turks & Caicos as a service destination means taking an explorative look at our current positioning, our strengths and weaknesses, and the critical components needed to shape that vision.

The prerequisite of a service destination is a strong service culture. In a world where ‘brand Turks and Caicos’ is synonymous with a high level of service, our philosophy and values regarding service excellence must be embedded in every area of our nation’s service delivery.

Worldwide, perceptions about countries have been carefully established and strengthened over time. This is not happenstance. It is curated, developed, and maintained.  A central idea and reputation of a country take years to build and to market, but when successful, the results are clear as indicated by our own personal thoughts when we hear a country’s name.

Japan has built a reputation for efficiency; Sweden is known as a global design capital; Italy has a strong reputation in luxury fashion; Singapore, strict laws surrounding cleanliness; Estonia, known for technology and the digitalization of public services. These are all examples of successful nation branding, and this is what it will take for the vision of Turks & Caicos as a service destination to be realized.

While our visitors encounter picture-worthy, memorable experiences, as a service destination we would provide an elevated version of what we currently do so well; one where attention to every detail is paid, we anticipate and satisfy guests’ needs, and provide an on-island experience that leaves the guest feeling more exhilarated than a vacation in any other destination has ever made them feel.

Now, imagine if we take this model of an elevated service experience and apply it beyond the tourism sector.  Nationally, there is a great deal of focus placed on the growth and management of tourism.  When we look at how our product has successfully evolved since the advent of the Turks & Caicos tourism industry, we can proudly boast of a destination that is growing and is among the most popular destinations in the region, among those with the highest annual daily rates experienced in the Caribbean. We see our culinary landscape development and a gentle push toward branding in that area as well. Ultimately, we are uniquely positioned to build on the existing branding and truly set ourselves apart.

However, if we embark on the journey to becoming a fully realized service destination, it will be no small feat. It requires a holistic approach and must be all-encompassing. Service excellence cannot exist only in our hospitality sector but must permeate both the public and private sectors if we are to achieve effective nation branding.

The question then becomes, can we achieve this? The answer: yes, we can!

Mahatma Gandhi said, “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.  He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.  He is not an interruption in our work – he is the purpose of it.  We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve him.”

This belief should be the guiding principle at the core of our nation branding if we hope to be regarded as a service destination.

There is a simple and abiding truth: if you don’t manage your country’s brand and perception, someone else will!

If we want to take charge of the emotion and feeling that comes to mind when the name Turks & Caicos is heard, there are key ingredients we must implement as we make a push to build our nation’s branding:

First and foremost, a strong vision of Turks & Caicos as a service destination is key. The vision and mission lay the foundation and must be clear to all involved.  Effective nation branding is one that is holistic in nature. It is the crafting of a framework that supports the positioning of the country on an international level in a strategic and deliberate way.

This framework creates the basis for the service culture across companies, organizations, and ultimately the country at large. It defines how we act, speak, and look. It essentially harmonizes what the world sees and thinks about us and helps to make the Turks and Caicos brand easily recognizable and reputable.

The second ingredient is alignment. Nation branding requires full stakeholder engagement. What does this mean? It means a complete buy-in from government, businesses, and citizens. Before you can successfully sell yourself to the world as a service destination, there must first be an indoctrination of this theme within the country. Whether young or old, indigenous or non-indigenous, there must be a complete buy-in. In short, service must be the DNA of the destination.

This can only be achieved if the proper mechanisms are put in place to ensure the culture being created is sustainable. Education, training, and continued development are key factors to the success of maintaining the standard of excellence once it is set.

And thirdly, there must be measurement and accountability.  Once we brand ourselves as a nation with a strong focus on service, it is important that we put checks and balances in place to ensure that we deliver across the board. Only then we will create the basis for culture credibility.

Why should we embark on becoming a service destination? Self-made millionaire and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “If you make a sale, you can make a living. If you make an investment of time and good service, you can make a fortune.”

The key to any nation’s success is its ability to attract trade, investment, tourism, and talents. The strength of a nation’s service delivery and reputation can be the pivotal element to this as its overall perception has a distinct economic and social impact on its advancement.

Turks & Caicos as a service destination can significantly enhance the country’s competitiveness on the global stage and thereby support economic growth. This strong reputation can then be leveraged by all industry sectors for a united approach in the international markets.

Imagine a Turks & Caicos where your experience as a customer – whether with a government agency, your telecommunications provider, or even a service station – is honed specifically with you in mind.  A nationwide service culture provides the framework for providers to continue seeking ways to better serve you, the customer, and to ensure that every effort is made to provide exceptional service even in challenging circumstances.

It is said that courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement. This is true and must apply not only to the service we deliver to our tourists and guests, but to the service we provide our citizens and residents as well.

With or without a push to brand ourselves nationally as a service destination, delivering a quality experience to clients and customers should be the objective of any business or organization in these islands. Take a good look at the inner workings of your business and examine whether or not you are operating with customer satisfaction in mind.

  • Do your policies work for you as an organization more than they do for your customer?
  • How can you optimize your policies with the customer or client in mind?
  • What new solution would lend to a more customer-friendly experience?
  • How do you ensure that the customer knows he/she is the most important component to the success of your business?

If we apply these questions to all business models, then we easily see a theme of service on a heightened level with tourism providers, investment organizations, public service agencies, and even our ‘Mom & Pop’ operations.

Once the key ingredients for nation branding are embedded in the country’s culture, this needs to be marketed to the masses. Here is where logos, slogans, and entertainment are developed to awaken the feelings and emotions that should be associated with your brand.

For this to resonate globally, no single organization should be responsible for this messaging. When nation branding is effective, an identity emerges that serves the country as well as the brands within it. Key operators leverage the theme of the nation’s brand to continue building value for the country and cementing the message of a strong service destination.

Let’s examine the Emirates model as an example. This airline not only markets and brands their company’s offerings but leverages the country’s image and culture essentially acting as a brand representative. They brand their product as an extension and representation of the national experience. This is what a complete buy-in throughout our country’s sectors will need to be. Everyone incorporating the central theme within their individual branding efforts to build a clear, consistent, credible, and competitive message.

I invite us all to begin thinking about the part we play in the branding of this wonderful country, and how we can develop a mindset of service excellence. This must be the order of the day without fail if we are to be regarded and recognized as a strong service destination.

Remember that a logo or slogan is not all there is to nation branding. The feelings, emotions, and perceptions that come to mind are indicative of our brand. If we are to stamp ourselves in this way, we must live and breathe service so much so that it is second nature.

The future of Turks and Caicos as a service destination begins with treating the customer as if you are that customer.

As Walt Disney once said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”

 

 

Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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Caribbean News

Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package

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#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.

The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.

“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.

She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.

‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.

The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.

“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at www.dunnsriverfallsja.com, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.

You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.

The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.

 

Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Carnival Cruise ordered to pay $10.2 million for passenger claiming rape by staff

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 5, 2022 – A Miami-based Federal Court returned a more than $10.2 million verdict against Carnival Cruise Line in favour of a passenger who claims a former crew member raped her in a storage closet aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2018.

A jury issued the verdict recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida finding Carnival liable for damages to the plaintiff, for false imprisonment and sexual assault by a crew member, in December 2018.

The jury separately found that Carnival was not negligent and that the former crew member did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff.

According to a statement issued last week Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said the incident between the plaintiff and the former crew member was consensual and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

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